FORT WORTH, Texas - Fort Worth police say a girl who was snatched from her mother while walking along a street Saturday evening has been found safe.
An Amber Alert was issued for Salem Sabatka after the kidnapping, which happened at 6:38 p.m. Saturday in the 2900 block of 6th Avenue, police said.
Salem and her mom were on a walk when a man in a vehicle approached the two. He grabbed the girl. The mother jumped in the vehicle to get her daughter back, but the suspect shoved her out and then drove away.
Neighbors who witnessed the terrifying abduction say what they saw was so unbelievable, it took them a moment to register what was happening.
But they worked quickly with police and the community to find Salem and bring her back home safe.
“It was horrible,” said one neighbor who didn’t want to be identified. “It was like desperate, it was like hysterical. I thought someone was being attacked.
Jim Sluck says he and others came out immediately.
“It just seemed like an animal that got hit in the street, that’s how high the scream and howl was that caused me to come out and see what was going on, and I think that’s what set the Ring camera off,” he said.
Sluck’s Ring doorbell camera caught part of the terrifying abduction on camera: “Help me! Help me please! My daughter’s been kidnapped!”
“She said someone kidnapped my daughter, so at that point, that’s what you hear and you’re a little bit in shock,” Sluck added.
“I thought maybe I should get in the car, she said it went that way, it went that way,” the neighbor who didn’t want to be identified said. “She was on foot. She didn’t have a car. I thought of going but I didn’t even know what car to look at.”
Another neighbor called 911 and police were there in minutes.
Fort Worth police put out an Amber Alert, spreading Salem’s picture and a photo of the suspect’s vehicle.
“We had so many people come up asking what they can do, and we literally told them just take the pictures we put out and go help us find this vehicle,” Fort Worth PD Officer Buddy Calzada said. “Go help us find Salem, and that's exactly what happened.”
Police say two local church members spotted the car at the Wood Spring Suites in Forest Hill about nine miles away.
“They did breach one of the doors here and were able to locate Salem safely,” Calzada said.
Police and the community worked together to bring Salem back home.
The suspect, identified as Michael Webb, was also taken into custody and charged with aggravated kidnapping.
Webb has an extensive criminal history, including an arrest for sexual assault in Smith County in April 2018, but that case was later dismissed.
His criminal record in Smith County dates back to 1991, with four prior arrests.
Charges include: Disturbing the peace, speeding, driving without a license, resisting and evading arrest, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Police are still trying to figure out why he took the 8-year-old girl.
“The fact that we had a resource and a technology that allowed for that,” Sluck said. “I’m grateful for the little girl and for the family and for the ability to help in a little way.”
“You guys were a huge asset to helping Salem be found safe and that's why we're here tonight. It's taken several hours, but it's taken the whole city to get behind us and make this happen,” Calzada said.
Salem was taken to a local hospital to be checked out, but appeared to be unharmed, police said.
Police say this is still an open investigation.